Monday, August 20, 2012

Why We're Selling Bicycles


We've been selling motorcycle (bicycles with motors) stuff for the past ten years or so. We've been selling bicycles and bicycle stuff for the past three years or so and this year a few of our moto customers have recently expressed bewilderment about the fact that we're selling bicycles (motorcycles without motors), so we thought we'd address that here.

Over the course of the past 10 years, Motostrano has evolved constantly. When we began operation in 2002, we sold used bikes on consignment out of a small garage across from a TacoBell and a block from a strip club called the Hanky Panky. From there we moved on to various aftermarket stuff; exhausts and rearsets, billet stuff, etc. For a while we imported a line of motard bikes from Italy called Vertemati. Then we added clothing to the mix and in a few years time became one of the biggest Alpinestars clothing retailers in the US. For about a year we had a tire machine and installed tires. We've always altered our catalog per hour hearts desire. Constantly evolving.

There's a weird assumption in the motorcycle "community" that a motorcycle shop must look and smell a certain way. That's not what we're about. Motostrano has always been about being something different, not normal, even totally weird: strange. Rarely has any one come to our store for the first time and felt totally comfortable. We do things differently, usually on purpose.

We do this for a living, not to uphold a certain image, or fit into a certain mold. It's a creative endeavor, as well as a full time job. If we didn't constantly change, we'd go crazy.

Though some motoheads just cant bring themselves to climb aboard anything with two wheels without a motor, a large percentage of us actually enjoy other activities besides motorcycling, watching motorcycle races, or talking about things related to motorcycles (and guns).  Most professional motorcycle racers ride bicycles for training purposes. Almost all of us started out on BMX bikes as kids and many of us enjoy mountain biking, riding beach cruisers or road bikes.

As an accessories company, Motostrano has some particular focuses and expertise. We used to be big into clothing. As a small company, our clothing focus lost out to other online companies that could better grab market share in the search engines by spamming Google with endless blog postings, videos and product reviews, positioning their site links higher than ours.

With a focus on hard parts, our motorcycle business has moved more online than ever and has also grown on an international level. We send supermoto stuff all over the world.

Here in our store we didn't need to devote so much space to motorcycle parts, particularly when locals would simply use our store as a place to try something on and then go buy it online at Ebay, or whatever. In order to stop the Showrooming that over half our in-store customers would do in our store, we made a conscious effort to stop stocking things for in-store purchases.



Bicycles are really fun. Reallllly fun. Perhaps we're getting older. Maybe we enjoy the slower pace, the safer aspect of riding a bicycle vs a motorcycle. Mostly, they are simpler. They're healthier. They're less expensive. Our customer base has grown exponentially since selling bicycles. We now have things for 8 year olds and  80 year olds. 

Many of our existing moto suppliers make things for both moto and bike. Alpinestars, Troy Lee Designs, Kali Protectives, Dainese, Bell, SixSixOne all make stuff for both. Motostrano sells both too.

For the foreseeable future we'll continue to sell the motorcycle stuff we've been selling for the past 10 years. We'll also continue to grow our bicycle business. We also want to open a coffee shop in the store. We might also sell surf boards some day, or skate boards. Whatever we want.







Tuesday, August 7, 2012

We Like Old Stuff

 Straight from the garage sale to our workshop, this old vintage Schwinn cruiser came in and left in a swirl of thumbs-ups and fond memories from all the folks who used to have an old Schwinn cruiser. new wheels, new tires, tubes. new lanes to cruise. new smiles to spread.